The Indian Army has launched a fresh hunt for artillery guns to pack more punch in its deteriorating firepower.
It will begin trials for buying 400 155mm/52-calibre towed artillery guns in February.
The trials will take place in the Kargil sector, where the Bofors gun won the battle for India in 1999.
Singapore Technologies Kinetics’ FH 2000 howitzer and BAE Systems’ FH77 BO5, an upgraded version of the army’s Bofors guns, will be competing with each other for the $2 billion (Rs 9,000 crore) tender that has been floated for the third time.
Singapore Technologies Kinetics is among seven firms with whom the defence ministry had put all business on hold last June after their names cropped up in CBI investigations against former Ordnance Factory Board chief Sudipto Ghosh.
Brig-Gen Patrick Choy (retd), the executive vice-president of Singapore Technologies Engineering, said on Friday, “It was a setback for us when some of our projects were put on hold. But there should be transparency and if something has triggered doubts, then it is fair for any agency to look into it. We have done nothing wrong and are prepared to open our records to the CBI.”
The defence ministry has allowed the firm to take part in the trials but no contract will be awarded pending the investigation.
The defence ministry is also exploring the possibility of buying 140 ultra-light howitzers worth $600 million (Rs 2,700 crore) by taking the foreign military sales route, which is a government-to-government contract.